Eddie Jackson’s curry turkey meatballs

By Eddie Jackson
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Turkey Meatballs

  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 6 scallions, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 (1-inch/2.5 cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 pounds (910 g) ground turkey
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons oil, for searing

Curry Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 small yellow onions, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 (1-inch/2.5 cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2 dried chiles de árbol
  • 4 teaspoons curry powder
  • 4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 4 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 3 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (14.5-ounce/411 g) fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper


Make the meatballs

  1. Line a large sheet tray with parchment paper.
  2. In a blender, combine all of the ingredients, excluding turkey and eggs and pulse until a smooth paste forms. If you need to, add more oil to achieve the right consistency.
  3. In large bowl combine the paste with the turkey, followed by the egg. Gently mix by hand until the meat and egg are fully integrated with the remaining ingredients. Don’t overmix as this will make your meatballs tough and dry.
  4. Using a 2-ounce (60 ml) cookie scoop, fill the sheet tray with equally-portioned meatballs. Refrigerate, uncovered, 10 to 15 minutes to allow the meatballs to firm up before cooking.
  5. Add the two tablespoons of oil to a large skillet set over medium heat with oil and warm until the oil is shimmering.
  6. Cook the meatballs in batches, until nicely seared, one to two minutes per side.
  7. Transfer the meatballs to a paper towel-lined tray or fitted with a metal rack and set aside.

Make the curry sauce

  1. While the meatballs are in the refrigerator, warm the oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat until the oil is shimmering.
  2. Add the onions, garlic, and ginger and cook, stirring often, until onions are translucent and starting to brown, eight to 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in two teaspoons of the curry powder, cumin, turmeric, coriander, and garam masala. Cook, stirring often, until mixture is fragrant and the spices begin to stick to the pot, about two minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes, stirring and scraping bottom of pot, and bring to a boil. Add remaining spices and two cups (480 ml) water, and return the sauce to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and lightly simmer until flavors have melded, 25 to 30 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and let the sauce cool slightly; then transfer to a blender and process until very smooth. Wipe out any remaining bits in the pot and transfer the sauce back to the pot.
  6. Stir in the lemon juice; then taste and season with more salt, if needed.

To serve

  1. When the sauce is ready, gently slide the cooked meatballs into the sauce and bring it to a simmer about 5 minutes more.

Note: This is a great recipe to make the day before. Keep the meatballs and sauce separately and gently reheat the sauce over medium-low heat before adding the cooked meatballs, just until heated through, two to three minutes. If the sauce becomes too thick, loosen it up with a little water, one tablespoon at a time.

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